Last fall, Amazon introduced a platform to let the crowd choose books for publication. Now the first batch of those books are about to make their debut.
Applying the upvote Reddit model to publishing, the Kindle Scout program allows readers to vote on their favorite excerpts from potential e-books over a 30-day open voting period; Amazon publishes the ones that generate the most positive response.
Today, the company has announced that the first 10 books selected via this literary version of a popularity contest will be published on March 3, with preorders beginning today. Genre-wise, it's a mixed bag, including steamy romance (A Highland Knight's Desire), science fiction (Pit Bulls vs Aliens), mystery (Unpaved Surfaces) and thriller novels (Running From the Past). The books will be available only on Kindle.
While Amazon's Kindle Scout publishing program depends on the consensus from the crowd, top-contenders also have to pass muster with a dedicated Kindle Scout team that sifts through popular titles and ultimately makes the final decision on what gets published and what doesn't. The whole process takes no longer than 45 days from submission to selection.
Selected authors are awarded a 5-year renewable publishing deal, a $1,500 advance, 50 percent royalties on ebook sales, and the option to take back the digital publishing rights if the book doesn't earn them at least $25,000 over a five-year-period.
As 50 Shades of Grey decisively proved, well-written novels typically favored by publishing houses and stories that capture the public's imagination in powerful (and lucrative) way don't always overlap, so it will be interesting to see if this program will be able to unearth the next cultural (if not necessarily literary) sensation.